On Advertising and Chips: “Crusading”



word by Jacob Goldberg

colour by Loish 

Elias’ bag of chips had gone missing. He was walking around the classroom searching for his bag of chips. He brandished his lunch box at Mr. Epplin, telling him that they were there this morning. He asked Mr. Epplin where they had gone. Meanwhile Mr. Epplin hadn’t even asked him a question. He had been standing at the chalkboard writing the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. And he looked to everyone to be terribly confused, like someone who had just been told that in fact Santa did exist. Elias didn’t care. He wanted to know where was his bag of chips. LAYS. Bag made of 70% reusable goods. The bag doesn’t mention where the last 30% came from. Elias speculates that it came from non-reusable goods. This is what Mr. Epplin calls an educated guess. 

Several minutes had elapsed since class began but this class seemed to be a lost cause. Of course, it could be have been recovered, had Mr. Epplin had ambitions to resume. But he didn’t. Mr. Epplin was looking for Elias’ chips. In fact, everyone was. Elias had corralled all of his classmates and his teacher into searching for his chips.

Elias asked every one of his classmates to empty their bags on their desks. He asked them to examine their belongings for his chips. He told them that they might have forgotten what you put in their bags. Sometimes, Elias said, he could overhear Mom whisper to Dad at Olive Garden that she’d forgotten something and now there was in issue underneath the table. This issue was her period. But dad would find a tampon in her purse. Elias said that the moral of the story was that you sometimes forget what you put in your bag. 

Mr. Epplin totally understood what Elias was getting at. He exclaimed to the class that he would be their father and inspect their bags for them. One girl, Eve, wondered whether this proclamation was grounds for terminating Mr. Epplin’s career as a teacher, but God intervened. He said to her, “Your namesake ate the apple: Don’t be the second Eve to fuck it up.” She wasn’t sure how to take this advice.  

When Ms. Chu, the biology teacher, appeared at the door with her students, Mr. Epplin, frisking Joseph, told her that he could arrest her if he wanted. He removed a pair of handcuffs from his breast-pocket and said don’t test me.   

Elias had removed the axe from the In-Case-Of-Emergency box and began to hack at the room’s infrastructure. One student had removed a wok from his backpack, another dry ice. Several students in the room were smoking cigarettes. Ms. Chu asked a student for one. The student said no. Ms. Chu and Mr. Epplin were holding hands. There was much excitement. Yes. Yes yes yes.

With the floorboards uprooted, the desks overturned, the windows kristallnachted, and the wallpaper peeled, Elias sadly decided that his chips were not in the room.

The next step was to set off the fire alarm. Elias’ thinking was: chips are denser than water, so they’ll sink in the rising water. Yes, Ms. Chu, the science teacher agreed. They emerged from the classroom, all attached to toddler leash.

The day would end soon, and Elias would go home hungry and chipless. All of Wilmington High would soon be on the Crusade for the Chips. Here, there is separateness in the togetherness, loneliness in the community. This crowd grows, and they are not alone, warding day and death away. 

word by Jacob Goldberg

“I was thinking about what it means to be a member of a group, to be driven by an idea, buying stuff, and how advertising can compel us to do things.  The girl in the picture seems like she could inspire such a crowd.”

see more colour by Loish 

We love to point out shadows in the dark / But do we illuminate the monsters?


“Illuminated Monsters”

word by Sean Hogan

colour by Giordani Poloni

More philosopher than centerfold,

She stops and stares at men who don’t care,

Beneath breasts beats more than fool’s gold,

Still, eyes linger where they wish she’d bare,


Fit to raise our youth and clean,

To buy and cook the food we eat,

Never heard and seldom seen,

Her labored fruits made bitter sweet,


The sliding scale of value froze

Needle pausing under half

Youthful beauty no longer shows

Her age screwed up the math.


At forty-five she “wastes away”,

Unmarried, unfortunate maid,

A gringo sitcom worn cliché,

To live, you must get paid,


She is only one example

One in all the many forms

A gender bent and trampled

Weathered leather in the storm


If a woman’s words fall on deaf ears,

Did they emerge or make a sound?

Do they possess so much to fear,

To keep the cycle spinning round?


Over half the population,

Trapped in shades of subjugation,

In every continent and nation,

In fear of pain, of death, invasion,


Is it not enough their body’s not their own,

That we wear and tear their very souls?

Teach girls to fear being alone,

To never take direct routes home?


We love to point out shadows in the dark,

But do we illuminate the monsters?

Trembling fingers hold no spark,

Steady hands, both shame and flaunt her

word by Sean Hogan

colour by Giordani Poloni

Am I an anyday person?


When I lived in a tiny balloon, I did not know someone had the scissors. I thought the world was rubbery and hermetic, the way it feels when you read inside a moving car. Every day, every teacher, every traffic jam assured me that things were meant to repeat themselves – I thought that was the deal. Do what you are expected to do and everything stays in place. I paid a tax for every missed thank you – I got cornered through every lie. Parents, family, society, looking out for my way of doing things, holding me accountable for the perpetuation of our good values.

Us, we lived high on helium, so their tactics of masks and deceit stayed far. We kept them at bay with bunkers of reeky diaries, Michael Jackson shreeks and daily marble tournaments. I gave the fuzzy stickers to my best pals only, and together we read about species going extinct which we would grow up to save. We knew some were out to wreck it all with their boredom, and we were eager for our turn to come. We would make things right. We would melt the herd of frowns and expose raw beauty. It would shine invincibly.

Did we implode or were we severed?

Was it all planned or did it fester until it could no longer handle us inside?

One day, something cut the cord, broke the diving bell, and young oxygen became stale.

In some parts of the world, they train children to carry guns. In other parts, they train them to carry mortgages. In both, the key is to begin infiltrating the mind before it has the chance to form itself around the body that holds it.

This way, kids become anyone.

An anyday person among anyday people.

The last plane crashed inside because it wanted to die innocent. And then we popped: we stayed stuck in the free-fall for a long time, before there were ever any followers or any marginals. We used to be on the same page before they enlisted some on the front, others on the back, and crumpled and twisted us against one another.

I keep shards of childhood tucked beneath my veins, so that I don’t forget we all come from the land which growing-up destroys. I carry stickers that I give out to my best pals only. They read, “Do Not Ever Grow Extinct.”

word by Hoda Adra 

colour by Strautniekas

From the author: “The artwork inspired thoughts about childhood as a homeland, and how we might go through personal acts of resistance when faced with the pressure of belonging to the dangerous adult world.”


shark and whale


She spent most of the waking hours of her life in an office tower. It was obvious to her that this was not a real problem, that the people around her were also spending most of their lives in office towers, and that everybody else seemed fine with it.

She spent only ten minutes of her day everyday outside, the walk between her apartment and the subway station, five minutes in the morning after which she descended underground and remained there, subway station to tower lobby, tower lobby to elevator, elevator to sky, to being up in the sky but also trapped inside a grey-walled cubicle. She could see a piece of sky over the top of her cubicle wall and the sun glinted sometimes in a way that was the most flippant, the most torturous of teases. And then five minutes on the way home, dark by the time she emerged. This, too, she knew was not a problem, because the air was cold in the city she lived in and to be inside, indeed to be underground, was desirable. Shelter was a plea granted.

There were tall mirrors in the elevators of the office tower, and sometimes she looked in these mirrors in the middle of the day and was surprised by the normalcy. She looked like an office worker, wearing the right clothing for an office worker, with her hair done up and her shoes clean and her teeth brushed. What she felt like was something big and floating, something that took moving with a crane or the buoyancy of an ocean of salt to support. Something helpless and slow.

There was a boy who worked in the Starbucks in the lobby of the office tower. He had long hair and a nice, easy smile. She started to take trips down to the Starbucks on her breaks and moon around. She reached sailing plateaus of caffeine highs by the end of the day.

One week, she came in on a Sunday, and the boy was not there. Another boy handed her a cup of coffee instead, a boy with short hair and a sharp, too-big smile. It occurred to her that Starbucks had paid for this smile, that this boy and maybe all the boys were smiling at her because Starbucks had told them to.

She drank too much coffee that day anyways.

She could not sit on the subway home, and because it was late and the only other people in the carriage were too gone to care, she paced back and forth for the whole ride, long strides that made her legs feel real for the first time in weeks and she imagined the office tower being filled with water, with salty ocean water and then with monstrous animals that stared without seeing and bit with delight and she imagined them darting back and forth in the gloomy, empty space. Shreds of mangled whale floated past them.

word by Charlotte Joyce Kidd

colour by Fiona Tang 

From the author: “It looked to me like the shark and the whale in this picture were both trying to break free from the wall, but whereas the whale strains against it, the shark bites its way out. I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about what the inside of the office tower I work in would look like if it was hollowed out and made into an aquarium, or some kind of colossal sculpture gallery. Those images together became this piece of writing.”



caught us drifting


Well they caught us drifting through the fingers of trees, wandering in seamless departure from the essence of things. We withdrew and abandoned the impulse to document; to fix what is most fleeting; to brighten the darkest hollows of the mind.

An inhale the sound of a gasp:  to impress upon the skin of a page, we took the impulse of the full moon, drawn up from between the folds and foliage of the mind to smear the light of dawn, the pastels of dusk, refusing to lose the immediate pleasure of the tactile.

To make a mark, gesture upwards, scratch the ceiling of what is possible: We are unbound by flurries of furious distraction to grasp the instrument of our making.

Write it down. Make a joyful stain: etch what is unknown and unknowable until it hits the steady surface. We will not be impeded by what presses bustling against our shoulders and hips, urging us forward, faster, into action without a moment’s pause to ask ourselves, “Is this what we wanted? How many hours remain?”

We settled for hustling, propelled by the urgency of thoughtless expectation, unawake to the voices wailing at us from within our bellies, to create: to return life with life. We died every night in a stupor, tracing well tread neuropathways that brought us comfort and apathy. 

And they shook us at our core and said,

Hello! I am love with you! You are unbearably beautiful and you have so much more to give!

They asked us to document and fix what is most fleeting so that we never lost the tactile. They told us to seek light and a higher plane. They taught us never to settle. They said smear the light of dawn with your mouth, wake up and loosen the binds of your muscles to the bones and burn the sap that adheres to what is familiar. None of this is what you think, and everything you say will be used against you. Dark laughter is a censor that shows us what we hate in ourselves.

They told us to shed what is stale, reach gasping for all that is holy and alive in us.

Listen, they are whispering: know that the depths of the tides move in you as well. Bring them forth in offerance and in the most tender humility, children: you are holy and you are the dawn and you are so much more than this. We love you, and we are also trapped. Slowly, gently unbinding. 

word by Alisha Mascarenhas

colour by Sam Rowe

From the author: “I wrote this in a process of learning to persistently refuse the censors we are surrounded with: the pressures of productivity, the insistent draw to external stimulation that pulls us from our deepest selves, the infiltration of a busy world into the sacred realm of the mind. I wanted to honour the vital creative process, to respond to the struggle of validating this work despite all that tells us it is unimportant. And I wanted also to somehow draw light to those special beings, visible and invisible, who/that compel us to continue and show us the power of our own potential.”